We have heard the following statements many times in Kenyan politics, “the leader is a good man but the people who surround him are the problem”; “our leader is not corrupt it is the people who surround her that are corrupt”; “our leader is humble but the people around her are arrogant”; our leader is not violent it is the people around him that are cruel. As a result we have come to accept that our leaders are good people and their supporters are the one to blame for the violence and troubles that characterize our politics. We naively believe that “our” leaders are infallible but the people around them are the problem.
The irony is that we regard these leaders as visionary and wise; we believe in their capabilities and trust them with the leadership of our nation. Yet on the other hand we cannot question them why they surround themselves with dubious characters/actors. If our leaders are as wise and as good as we think, why can’t they surround themselves with men and women of integrity? Why do we disregard the old adage that, birds of the same feathers flock together? It is time we look at the ardent supporters to understand our leaders.
Their supporters attack and harm the leaders’ opponents; they stone those who do not worship their demigods. Sometimes they kill in the name of their “heroes.” They are prepared and ready to harm those who do not subscribe to their myopic vision. We have seen them throw stones, haul chairs and beat up those who think their leader is not what Kenya needs.
Their supporters are the kings of the social media, they attack anybody with a differing view from theirs, they are ready to release verbal diarrhoea on anybody who opposes their gods. They will brand their god’s opponent names like moles, turncoats etc, they will attack his/her character. Many cowards hind behind the invisible walls of social media as they throw mad at anybody with an independent mind. They want to create a nation of Zombies who will join them in the Praise Choir of the leaders.
With all the knowledge harboured by the “leaders”, with all the networks and sometimes intelligence they get, I am yet be convinced that they cannot disown those who attack other people. When the politicians are misrepresented by the media, they call for press conference to set record straight. If these politicians where sincere, deep down their hearts why can’t reject support from hooligans and violent supporters. If the so called leaders cannot lead their supporters, then one of the two things best describe them, but maybe both. One, they are not as wise and good as their supporters believe; hence they have no business of being leaders to anybody. Two, the violence we see in politics is engineered by the leaders themselves. As such nobody should lie to you that the leaders are good people, it is only their supporters who are bad. The truth is each leader is as good as his/her most violent/dubious supporter is. The buck stops with the leader, a wise American remarked and I concur.
If I ever became a leader I do not what people who do not respect the rule of the law to support me. I do not want people who attack others on social media to support me, I do not want people who stone and disrupt other leaders’ meetings to support me, I do not want people who cannot think for themselves but depend on my wisdom to support me, better still do not want people who think that I am the only right person in the world to support me. I challenge any leader worth his/her salt to make these words his/hers.